Friday, 11 January 2013

Mindset Cafe: 2013-01-11

The climate apocalypse, urban heat, chocolate makes you clevererer, Benin celebrates voodoo day and return of the Black Smurf.

Stories for stories

Benin has celebrating voodoo day, a cool nod to African beliefs.  Scientists have announced that there are an estimated 17 billion planets about the size of earth, which should be about enough if you want to compete with Isaac Asimov's Foundation opus. And finally, journalism's most popular science story rears its head again. The latest round of gratuitous research points to the possibility that chocolate makes you intelligent. You know what to do. What are you waiting for?

Reading and writing

On of my ongoing fears has been rejection of my stories. I don't know why. I submitted one story three times. The first mag told me there was not enough happening. Maybe they wanted a zombie romp. The second editor told me it was awesome and accepted it, but his publication closed shop. The third editor told me the tone was perfect but the ending was too predictable. The most interesting thing is that I am not hung up about it. It seems to be par for the course. I love the story and sooner or later another editor will, as well.

Here's something cool, a 'super list' of 10 very addictive book series.  And here's something worth mulling over. A psychoanalyst says that we need to tell stories to relieve our sorrows

Return of the Black Smurf

I put away my Black Smurf for a bit at the beginning of the year, but he made his return in something that was too deliciously bizarre to put down.

The Black Smurf is kind of important to me because he is the token of my African / goth / disaffected / individualist persona. Maybe I should bung him on a coat of arms.

Mother Nature and other terrifying things

Sorry, folks. The apocalypse is not going to be zombies, unless Benin achieves something scary with its celebration.

Chaos maths is very, very interesting. It deals with the areas where maths becomes unpredictable, for instance in the realm where one plus one might not equal two. Here's a book Chaos: Making a New Science which makes the whole thing understandable. The classic example of one of the most complex and unpredictable systems is the weather. The situation has been coming on for a long time now, and over the month, it seems to have become a reality with the extreme weather events that have been predicted for quite a few years. Are you getting a sinking feeling? James Lovelock, the father of Gaia Theory, has had two quotable things to say. The first is, "Enjoy life while you can." The second is that we are past the tipping point and that anything we do now is akin to 'rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic'. Here's his book, The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity, on the matter, and your sinking feeling is valid. 

While we are here, the Southern Hemisphere has been experiencing extremely high heat. If you have been in an urban area, among high buildings, you will have noticed that the temperature rapidly rises from furnace-like to blast-furnace-like. This is due to various factors, including poor building techniques and  limiting the flow of air. Urban migration is often touted as one of the ways for climate refugees to survive (services can be centralised), but poorly planned cities will not be able to absorb the rural poor, resources will be strained and cities contribute to warming in their immediate environments. Take a look at this article.

Although there is little we can do, we can find ways to weather things (pardon the pun), and one of those things is to plant sensibly, in other words, veg and trees. Growing your own food is environmentally friendly (no transport or manufacturing burdens) plus it helps you become self sufficient. If you are interested in becoming more self sufficient, find knowledge and motivation, here...

Alternatively, just Google the item you want to grow and you should find enough to get you started.

And finally...

Scientists have revised the science of 'James and the Giant Peach', and you can read all about it, here... 

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